Apple’s “groundbreaking” partnership with IBM will get going next month, Apple said this week.
The partnership, which goes by the name “MobileFirst,” was announced in July. It was hailed as “groundbreaking” by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the time, and called “landmark” by Apple CFO Luca Maestri when talking to analysts on Tuesday. (IBM’s CFO Martin Schroeter was a bit more subdued over it, merely calling it “strategic.”)
In any case, both companies say it’s a big deal, so we were eager to hear a progress report when they each announced their quarterly earnings this week.
Here’s what they said:
“Hundreds” of corporations worldwide have “expressed interest” in MobileFirst to Apple, which is “actively working with over 50 of them to become foundational clients for MobileFirst solutions in their industries,” Maestri said.
The apps mostly focus on analysing business data. IBM’s Schroeter says the first dozen applications will launch this quarter. Some apps will be out next month, Maestri told Reuters.
Cook told analysts that interest in enterprise iPad apps from non-IBM developers is on the rise, too.
“We are seeing especially strong interest in the enterprise with a number of registered developers is up 39% over a year ago,” Cook said on the quarterly call.
Apple wants IBM to help it sell more iOS devices to enterprises, although Cook is fond of saying that nearly every large global company already uses iPhones and iPads.
What Cook wants is for IBM to help Apple win more deals for custom software running on iOS. For instance, pharma company Sanofi uses over 25,000 iPads and over 450 in-house apps to help it sell its products, and show its products to doctors, Maestri said. Apple wants more of that.
IBM gets paid to write the apps and then host them on its cloud, and it also has the chance to sell other things, like security software, and so on.
But Cook believes the partnership is bigger than improving iPad sales, which are lagging right now.
“We also know that the deeper the apps go in the enterprise, the more it opens up avenues in enterprise,” Cook said. “And that’s a key part of the IBM partnership and what I think customers will get out of that, which is more important than us selling, is changing the way people work.”